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Common Myths About Living With an Ostomy

by Jessica December 16 2014 09:54
There are hundreds of thousands of individuals around us who have experienced an ostomy surgery (which is a surgical procedure that involves re-routing the flow of body waste from the bladder, small intestine or colon/large intestine through an opening in the abdomen called a stoma). This is done when injury or disease renders the digestive or urinary system incapable of safely processing waste in the usual manner from the body. Common causes include injury, cancer, inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s Disease, chronic inflammation of the bladder, and more.

However, given the procedure, many might have some misconceptions of what an ostomy surgery is and how having an ostomy can affect an individual's daily life. For this reason, we thought it could be beneficial to address a few of the more common myths about living with an ostomy to help the public better understand that there is life after the procedure.

Ostomy Myth 1: People will know that I have an ostomy.

Today’s ostomy systems are designed to be as discreet as possible under clothing, so most people will not have a clue unless you tell them. 

Ostomy Myth 2: I will not be able to exercise.

Although the Cleveland Clinic recommends that you forgo the heavy lifting for the first couple of months, regular exercise is possible and encouraged. You might even find exercise to be easier than before you had the procedure, especially if you were dealing with poor health prior to your surgery. Have you heard of the fitness model, Blake Beckford, couple huggingwho has an ileostomy? He is walking proof that you can still exercise and achieve big dreams!   

Ostomy Myth 3: Physical intimacy will be an issue.

It’s perfectly normal to have some concern about this change in your life, but with some communication and a caring partner who understands the unique issues that come with having an ostomy, you can still enjoy sex. You may want to take some precautions prior to intimacy, such as emptying your pouch or wearing a smaller specialty pouch designed to be less bulky. There are also accessories available that can help hold your pouch or bags in place during intimate times.  

Ostomy Myth 4: All ostomy procedures are permanent.

Some ostomies are actually temporary, but this will depend on why you need the surgery in the first place.

Ostomy Myth 5: I will completely need to overhaul my diet.

This will depend on what you eat and the nature of your surgery, but there may be no need for huge overhauls. For instance, if you have a colostomy, you may want to avoid foods that produce excess gas such as beans or cabbage, or if you have an ileostomy, you might be advised to avoid tough, high-fiber foods. The best course of action is to consult with your treating physician for full information on how you should balance your diet.


180 Medical offers a variety of high-quality colostomy, ileostomy, and urostomy supplies to help you adjust to life with your new procedure. Contact us today to learn more about our ostomy products, billing information and more. 

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